Hizballah unmanned aerial craft that penetrated Israel two days ago is capable of carrying 40 kilos - and therefore a bomb, according to Israeli chief of staff Gen. Yaalon’s report to Knesset committee Tuesday. Craft spent 7-12 minutes over northern town of Nahariya.
Ha'Aretz writes that
Apparently, the drone carried a camera capable of transmitting images while the plane is in motion. On Monday, Hezbollah's television channel, Al-Manar, aired footage of what it said was the drone it had sent into Israel.
The drone was Iranian made. It was developed and built in Iranian plants in the 1990s. The aircraft is considered technologically very simple, with a pre-programmed route that is installed before launch. During the flight, a camera sends images back to a ground station, which was supposedly manned by Iranians, and the plane is apparently supposed to land by parachute.
The Iranians supplied several such planes to the Hezbollah, just as they supplied rockets. One of the Iranian conditions for the supply of the drones was that Hezbollah get clearance from Tehran before any launch.
The Hezbollah operatives were trained in the use of the plane by experts from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.
Some analysts believe the drone is primarily a psychological tactic, and that the actual military value of the Mirsad-1 is limited. It may serve as a signal of Iran's determination to defend itself and its nuclear program against strikes by Israel or the US; Syria may also be using the incident to strengthen its negotiating position with regard to the Golan Heights.
In other news, Iran announced it has acquired the capability to mass-produce medium-range ballistic missiles. Iranian Defense Minister Rear Adm. Ali Shamkhani told journalists in Tehran that the IRI is able to manufacture in bulk the Shahab-3 missile, whose range was recently upgraded to 1,250 miles.
Morning Report: April 12, 2005 (Hezbollah drone penetrates Israeli airspace.)
Hezbollah Drone Update
Eagle/Heron, and Another UAV